This is the description of the cigar per Holt’s website:
“This cigar shares a wrapper leaf with Tatuaje’s prized Black Label. It certainly isn’t Pepin’s strongest blend but what it lacks in punch it more than makes up for with a complex and dizzying blast of flavors ranging from spicy earth and cedar to creamy leather and nuts. “
So it “shares a wrapper leaf with Tatuaje’s prized Black Label”, that tells me (even before receiving these) that the Esteli sungrown wrapper is not going to be pretty. Since Pete Johnson himself stated that the wrapper on his black label is actually a binder leaf (the tat black was made for taste not for looks). Let’s see if it scores high in the flavor department as described above.
Cigar Stats: Robusto 5” x 50, Wrapper, binder and filler are all Nicaraguan.
Price: I purchased these at Holt’s for around $5/ stick
Smoke Time: 1 1/2 hours.
Beverage: Coca-Cola Zero
Upon inspection the wrapper is as mentioned not pretty; a mottled chocolate brown with a few bumps and a couple of prominent veins running from foot to triple cap. The wrapper gives off an ever-so-faint smell of compost. The foot has a sweet woody and somewhat dried fruit smell. The cigar feels heavy, and I note one soft spot exactly midway through the cigar.
I make an incident free cut of the well applied triple cap, and get a very faint cedar flavor in the pre-light draw- which was perfect.
This vitola lit easily, producing a lot of flavorful smoke. As with most of Pepin’s blends it starts off with a nose-full of black pepper, which subsides ¾” into the smoke. A dry cocoa makes a more pronounced appearance once the pepper fades, along with light coffee notes. The cigar’s burn started off uneven; correcting itself into a wonderfully sharp line. Woody notes come in around the 1” mark, along with nutmeg, brown sugar, and a stronger coffee/ cocoa. The coffee flavor lingers on the palate along with just a touch of white pepper. As with most cigars you definitely have to take your time to enjoy the flavors- one puff at a time.
The second third starts with a darker coffee flavor- perhaps a Sumatra or a French roast. Black pepper decides to make a second appearance with the cocoa fading in and out. I taste a banana leaf flavor come in, then right at the halfway mark a deep dark chocolate flavor coats my palate for a few puffs. The ash, which is now 2 ½” long decides to fall (the soft spot noted earlier). The dark chocolate disappears after the ash falls and is replaced with a toasty cedar taste, and the dark coffee returns as the second third comes to a close.
The last third continues with black pepper and an over-roasted walnut flavor. This fades in and out along with a lighter almost milk chocolate taste and the earthy/ nutty flavor. With about an inch left the pepper gets pushed to the background, leaving banana leaf and dark roasted coffee. At ¾” I begin taking sips as opposed to full puffs to avoid overheating the tobacco; deciding to lay the cigar to rest at around ½”.
I didn’t know what to expect from this cigar and was pleasantly surprised with the great flavors and complexity, without getting overwhelmingly strong. Though not a “looker” this stogie definitely delivered in taste.
Definitely one of the more beautiful bands I have encountered.
This review comes courtesy of Stan aka SoCal32
from the Stogie Review Fan Forums